As CDT readers know, we regularly post propaganda orders which we call Directives from the Ministry of Truth. These posts are only possible because of the Internet; journalists leak the orders online and CDT verifies them before posting them. But without the Internet, China’s propaganda regime is notoriously opaque, with very little public information about what orders are given to journalists or how media work is guided. For this reason, a document recently discovered and translated by Rogier Creemers of the China Copyright and Media blog, offers a unique inside look at how authorities guided propaganda and ideology work in the wake of the June 4, 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing. The document was published in an internal training manual for Chinese journalists. An excerpt of Creemers’ translation of CCP Central Committee Notice concerning Strengthening Propaganda and Ideology Work from July 28, 1989:
III, Continuing to do propaganda end education work well to stop the rebellion, put down the riot and stabilize the situation.
At present, among a number of cadres and masses, and especially a number of university students and intellectuals, there still is a confused understanding concerning the truth, the nature and the source of this storm, concerning the policies and measures adopted by the Party Centre and the State Council, and even some erroneous viewpoints still exist here and there. It is necessary to unify people’s thoughts towards the analysis of Comrade Deng Xiaoping and the conclusion of the 4th Plenum, it is also necessary to do great amounts of arduous and meticulous propaganda, explanation and ideological education work. All levels’ Party organizations propaganda departments and the whole body of ideological and political work cadres must vigorously take up this complex and important task.
It is necessary to continue to organize Party members, cadres and the masses to deeply study the Central documents related to stopping the rebellion and putting the riot down. At the same time as earnestly resolving surface problems of ideological understanding, it is necessary to revolve around whether or not China must march the Socialist path after all, or whether it is necessary to persist in Communist Party leadership, and work to resolve deeper-laying ideological problems, fully understand the gravity of this struggle, which relates to the life and death of the Party and the country, fully understand the necessity of determinedly persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles and reform and opening up, fully understand the danger of the international monopolist capitalist scheme to overthrow the Socialist China through “peaceful evolution” schemes, fully understand the long-term nature and arduousness of the struggle against bourgeois liberalization.
It is necessary to target the ideological understanding problems of masses in different areas and at different levels, display facts, discuss reason, all sorts of vivid materials and forms that are easy for the masses to accept to explain this planned, organized and premeditated political rebellion, explain that this is the evil result of the excessive trend of bourgeois liberalization domestically and of anti-Communist and anti-Socialist forces intensifying their ideological and political infiltration. Relevant departments and localities must organize forces to write literary materials systematically exposing the truth of the rebellion and riot and its origins and development, produce a batch of image propaganda works and rapidly distribute them. Clear facts and distinguish right and wrong through exposure. It is necessary to both expose criminals engaging in beating, smashing, robbing, burning and killing, the heads and backbones of illegal organizations, and to expose the schemers, organizers, and inciters behind the screens, to expose these people who have obstinately persisted in their bourgeois liberalization viewpoints for a long time, who were involved in political conspiracy, who colluded with reactionary forces outside the country or the borders or provided Party and State core secrets to illegal organizations. The exposure and criticism of these people is an important content of the cadres and the masses engaging in vivid and realistic Four Cardinal Principles education, and to realistically oppose bourgeois liberalization.